The history between Rolex and competitive sport is as well known as it is successful. But between the big sporting events, car races and individual sporting events, one sport overshadows them all as it takes the spotlight in a world of shier neverending spectacle and gigantic crowd pleasing events. The Grand Slams of the ATP and WTA quarterly invite to a celebration of athletisme not comperable to anything else in the sports world as the four major tournaments span the globe. As the partnership of Rolex and the tennis sport reaches it's 45th Anniversary, we look back on the formation of relationsship that outlasts generations like the succeses and achievements of the players.
Starting with the roots - Wimbledon
Just as professional tennis itself, the story of Rolex in the tennis world started in Wimbeldon as it became the official timekeeper of the tournament where players fight for fame and glory on the eight millimeter high grass in 1978. Even though the rules are constantly changing, as innovations like the introduction of the tie break to prevent tremendous thrillers like the legendary 11 hour match between Isner and Mahut entered the scene of, Rolex donates consistency as the cameras roam over the legendary dials next to the scoreboard, solidifing that the game is never over till the match point is won.
Even tough Rolex hasn't yet released an official watch dedicated to a grand slam tournament, certain models have earned a reputation amongst watch lovers as inofficial competition-specific timepieces. One of those classics is the Rolex Datejust, known amongst tennis fans as the "wimbledon" watch due to the 2009 model with green bordered Roman numerals being strongly reminiscent of the grass courts. This watch most famously adorns the wrist of Roger Federer, the most successful player in the history of wimbledon with 8 titles, and steals the spotlight whenever the grass king lifts a trophy.
But for our pick we added a twist to this timeless classic, dipping the Datejust in noble pure 18ct. gold reminisant of the legendary gentleman's single trophy resulting in the Rolex Lady Datejust 18K for our ladies choice.
For our gentlemans choice we keep the golden base as well as the twist of gender swaping by adding the Rolex Oyster Date 18K to our roster, sporting a silver dial as following the model of the the silver and gold Venus Rosewater dish only the most skilled woman is able to lift in the middle of july.
Happy Slam - Australian Open
In 2008 Rolex expanded their partnership with the ATP and WTA tour by becoming official partner of the Australian Open. The first grand slam of the year situated on the eponymous continent in the southern hemisphere is known for it's exuberant atmosphere and therefore was famously given the name "Happy slam" by six-time winner Roger Federer. Regardless of the blazing heat of the australian summer, countless extatic fans annualy fill the Melbourne Park with its combined 37.5 thousend seats to watch the truly toughest tournament of the year.
Our pick for the ladies watch that defines the Australian Open is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual with the reference number 1007, forged out of exclusiv oyster steel and distinguished by its bright blue dial, remisant of the famous blue tennis courts and completed with dial-indices that glow in the orange evening sky.
For male watchlovers we suggest the Rolex Datejust 18K, being ensircled with the combination of stainless oyster steel and 18ct. solid gold and also featuring a dark blue dial.
Breaching the Atlantic ocean - US Open
The last grand slam of the year gained the support of rolex in 2018, bridging the gap across the atlantic ocean to reach the land of endless possibilities and never ending glamour. With by far the biggest tennis court worldwide, the event around the Arthur Ashe Stadium thrives among the superlatives set by the New York City, the tournament can look back on a long and eventful history, especially embossed by its everchanging floor coverings. The second oldest Grand Slam started its life on grass in 1881, being influenced by Wimbledon which commenced its staging only three years prior, being followed by a short three year period on clay courts. In 1978, nearly a hundred years after its inception, the tournament moved to its current location in newly constructed Flushing Meadows, now sporting its famous blue hard surface, bringing the US opens turbulent history to a close - at least for the time being.
To match the style of the rich and beautiful in the stadions near the city that never sleeps, we chose the Rolex Datejust II with its diamond set golden dial as the best option to adorn the wrist of every male US open fan.
For the ladies on the tribune and court we suggest the Rolex Datejust Diamond, reminisant of the sterling silver trophy only the most skilled player can lift with its stainless steel case and silver dial while being completed with ten diamonds.
Career Grand Slam - French Open
With becoming official timekeeper of the French Open in 2019, Rolex completed the cycle of all 4 Grand Slams being among their sponsored partners by adding their famous clocks with white dials and golden bezels next to the scoreboard, backed up by a noble dark green reminisant of the Roland Garros logo. Being named after the famous french aviator, the event is widely regarded as the widely regarded as the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world due to clay surfaces characteristics of a slower pace as well as higher bounce, resulting in a tremendous amount of running in the glistening summer heat for the players and in it being regarded as the biggest obstacle towards triumphing in all for Grand Slams as many legendary players like John McEnroe were never able to win this tournament. Even players like Roger Federer nearly failed at achieving the "Career Grand Slam" - winning all Grand Slams in one calendar year - until he won the courted title for the only time in 2009.
The Rolex Submariner Date with the nickname "Starbucks", which will join our roster very soon, features a black dial completed with a green bezel and seems like a copy of the Roland Garros logo when combined with the trademark red clay of the court, resulting in a dream come true for every male tennis fan.
Having already joined our collection of unique watches, the Rolex Datejust 18K White Gold is a real gem with its special perlmutt dial, paying tribute to the famous Musketeers Cup covered with a beautifuly engraved silver finishing. By adding this truely unique timepiece to your collection, you'll always carry a jewellery piece second to none that never leaves your wrist just as the resembling trophy never leaves Nadals hands.
But amongst all the immortal legends of tennis and the sparkling eyes and watches in the captivated audience, humility and the beauty of this sport stood and will always stand in the focus of thse historic tournaments, as Rudyard Sipling famously statted in his famous poem "If" whose two lines adorn wimbledons centre coart.
"If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same"